By definition, inbound marketing refers to any and all forms of content marketing used to attract customers to your business. They might not necessarily convert, but they "buy in" in some way - whether it's by signing up for an RSS feed on your blogs, or following your page on Facebook. Inbound marketing is a collective term for the numerous ways you can turn strangers into leads, and leads into customers.
So where do you begin? There are so many options to choose from and they are all successful in one way or another, but finding the tactics that apply directly to your business can be tough. So why not look at someone who has already tried and tested various tactics against their business model and benefit from their experience? Investigate and analyze your competitors' inbound marketing tactics.
The age old method of email marketing still remains a stalwart. While many have already written off the simple efficiency of email in favor of other newer, sparklier options, statistics show that email marketing still shows promise in terms of conversion. There are almost three times as many email users as there are Facebook users, email is more cost effective and you can channel information to designated groups, based on their preferences. So how do you see what is working within your niche?
Sign up for your competitor's emails and use yourself as a test case. Ask yourself a few questions and record your findings:
- Was the email triggered based on an action you carried out?
- When was the mail sent?
- What time?
- Did the subject line attract your attention?
- Did it prompt you to click?
- Was the content enticing and easy to read?
- Did you read all of it?
- Did the design aid in improving or hindering your user experience?
- Were you prompted to click on any of the links?
Customize the questions and track this over a few mails and see if you recognize any patterns developing. Perhaps you can even apply ratings to the mails and see if the subjects, design or content had any influence over this.
Using your competitors emails and subject lines, you can identify a number of patterns that they would have researched before relaying their marketing mails to you. Punch these into Google Adwords or Ubersuggest and see what other options you come up with. Use these as a base for your own email marketing campaigns, and measure your success in the same way you rated that of your competitors.
We all value the importance of content, especially in light of fairly recent Panda updates. With such a huge emphasis on creating content that users actually want to absorb, it's equally as important to get a feel for the content that's already out there and whether or not it's working. Enter some more investigative work that delves into the efforts of your competitors.
Take the keyword research you did and punch some of the results into Google, but also try an advanced search by typing - site:competitorsite.com "search query". By doing a little background check on all of your top keywords, you can identify the troughs and peaks of content produced around various topics. The peaks might prove to be really popular topics, while the troughs present space for potential content that is needed.
We've all done it in a personal capacity at some stage or another, so why not stalk your competitors on their social networks? Do you follow them on Twitter? Are you a fan of their page on Facebook? If not, why not? You need to keep your finger on the pulse, and perhaps their social spaces are where it's currently pumping. This is the easiest way to keep tabs on what your competitors are up to but it's also a perfect indication for you to be able to see what works for them and why.
Pay attention to things like:
- Are they only tweeting their own content?
- If they tweet or post about other people's content, how do they choose it? What do they post?
- What time are they tweeting or posting?
- How regularly?
- Do they include personal design?
- How do they engage with their users?
It's easy to track these points by creating a table that lists likes, retweets, shares and comments, as well as engagement, content specific information and timing. As with the above tactics, you'll start to notice patterns that you can apply to your own business. Use Topsy to highlight the positively influential people within your selected social spaces and see if you can get them to do the same promotion for you.
Have you got any other ideas on how to use your competitor's inbound marketing tactics to your advantage? Let us know.
Image courtesy of: https://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1828523/keyword-competitive-intelligence-101